President Obama’s Plan to Make Our Schools Safer

Earlier today, President Obama introduced a new plan to keeps guns out of the wrong hands, make schools safer, and increase access to mental health services. “While reducing gun violence is a complicated challenge,” President Obama said during the announcement. “Protecting our children from harm shouldn’t be a divisive one,” he said.

now is the time imageAdmitting that we won’t be able to stop every violent act, the President introduced a plan that includes four common-sense steps the country can take right now to protect our children and communities:

    1. Closing background check loopholes to keep guns out of the dangerous hands;
    2. Banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and taking other common sense steps to reduce gun violence;
    3. Making schools safer; and
    4. Increasing access to mental health services.

The President’s plan to provide new resources that communities can use to make schools safer echoes what educators have been saying they need in order to protect students, including:

    • Hire school resource officers — specially trained police officers who not only enforce the law but act as teachers and mentors.
    • Hire school psychologists, social workers, and counselors to support students struggling with mental health issues and help avert crises before they occur.
    • Purchase school safety equipment, like security cameras and secure locking systems.

The Administration will also work with school districts across the country to ensure that every school has a high-quality emergency plan in place, and the President’s plan includes a proposal to help 8,000 schools put in place proven strategies to reduce bullying, drug abuse, violence, and other problem behaviors, and to gather and share best practices on school discipline.

Read Secretary Arne Duncan’s statement about the President’s plan, and click here to read more about the President’s plan, included additional details on the education proposals listed above.

Visit ED’s Readiness Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center for resources already available, including Creating and Updating School Emergency Management Plans.

Cameron Brenchley is director of digital strategy at the U.S. Department of Education

20 Comments

  1. I am all for owning a gun and protecting our property and families but their is no reason you have to own an automatic weapon. All these people opposing the gun restriction not BAN. We have to consider the mentally unstable people that own guns and the criminals. All this plan is doing is assuring that you have the right mind to own a gun and you are not a criminal. Everyone is just focussing on the restriction on automatic weapons. This is about safety for our children, the furture of the country. We have failed them by using the constitution as the reason so many object. I am sure that our founding fathers who had one shot gun powder muskets, did not intend for the furture generation to own a machine gun that can cut a person in half. People just need to put the interest of our children,whether in Daycares, Elementary School or University, first. Let them check out people who want to get guns and make sure that they have all their marbles and haven’t committed a crime. Let’s get rid of those machine guns. Let’s make sure our kids have the right protection in their classrooms and playgrounds.

  2. We need better prevention in our schools and our society and we need to stop only reacting. We can have safer and more effective schools with Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports and more Social and Emotional Development in our schools. Our society also needs more mental health access for all people.

    I am fine with gun owners who want to hunt deer to have rifles given good background checks – but why in the world does anyone need a semi-automatic weapon – not to hunt deer!

    • The founding fathers gave us the Second Amendment not because of hunters, but because they wanted Americans to be able to defend themselves against the government should it become necessary. Further, the founders were opposed to America having a standing army (hence the language in the Constitution about limitations on funding the military and the language in the Second Amendment about the militia, of which every able-bodied male citizen up to a certain age was expected to be part should it be necessary).

      James Madison (father of the Constitution) said, “The right of self-defense never ceases. It is among the most sacred, and alike necessary to nations and to individuals.”

      Thomas Jefferson said, “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”

      He also said, “The constitutions of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property and freedom of the press.”

      He further said, “Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state.”

      This statement of Jefferson’s is the most telling: “When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”

      This was the thinking of those who founded our republic (it’s a republic, not a democracy). Those of you who would try to limit gun ownership truly don’t understand what we were given and very clearly hate liberty. Also, gun control laws don’t prevent criminals from obtaining and using guns.

      The idiotic law that created gun-free school zones didn’t stop the Sandy Hook killer from taking a gun onto school grounds and using it to kill those students and teachers. Obviously, banning guns on school property didn’t protect the kids and teachers at Sandy Hook. I’m not suggesting that teachers and school staff be armed, but a well-armed security guard at the entrance to the school grounds or, at the very least, at the entrances to the school building, might have.

      Further, the cities with the highest gun-related crime are those with the toughest gun control laws.

  3. I hope these plans will be implemented sooner. I’ve been a teacher at Yale’s Science Education Outreach Program (SEOP) and I know a lot of other people who are concerned about the students’ safety. -Eric Schiffer

  4. I pose two questions. Why do the towns and states with tough gun control laws have rising crime? Why to the states with open carry laws have falling crime rates?
    Phoenix Arizona had one of the highest crime rates in the nation several years ago. Arizona passed a law to allow open carry and the crime rate dropped dramatically.
    I have a concealed carry license, but as a teacher I can’t carry to school. I am at the mercy of the SRO (who is armed) defending me. Hope he is close.

  5. Where is Obama going to come up with the money to fund this? We’re already $16 trillon in debt. It’ll be just like always-the President makes all these suggestions and mandates and then fails to fund the program fully thus making the Districts come up with the difference. And many districts are having financial difficulties these days.

  6. Teachers, staff, administrators, who have been trained in gun safety, crisis situations, and who have had professional development training in school safety relative to guns, shooters, etc. should be able to protect their school zonal areas. Conceal carry weapons are perfect for this school protection. Even armed SRO’s–and every school should have an SRO–cannot be everywhere. However, if the only person armed is the SRO–as important as his presence is–puts the officer’s life at risk because–if a shooter beleives that if the SRO is gone from the campus or if the shooter takes the officer out of action, the school then is very vulnerable. Teachers already assume parents’ role in protecting children all day long. Why is there a fear that armed teachers with proper traing could not assist in protection from intruders at school as any parent would do in a home invasion. If some teachers do not choose gun safety staff development or are uncomforable with guns they can opt out. Laws which make schools gun-free zones means only the lawbreakers have the guns. As long as shooters (even many mentally deficient ones) know most campuses have employees who may be carrying arms, they will contemplate other places to carry out their deranged actions.

  7. As a teacher and a parent, I agree with President Obama’s plan to make schools safer. Every school does need a school resource officer and not just one for the district. On a daily basis, a school principal experiences many safety and legal issues. Also, there is a drastic increase of social and emotional needs of our students. We need more than just one school psychologist to service a school of up to 500 students! Social workers and counselors are also needed to meet the diverse needs of our youth. Also, having worked at a school that had cameras/security desk and a badge entry system, it did provide another level of safety than just a lock and key system. Our schools are constantly being visited by parents, relatives, and other visitors. A school secretary should not have the sole responsibility of letting these visitors into the building. A person to monitor the cameras and entry system is crucial in providing students and staff a safe school environment. I know many people will disagree with this opinion and feel like it takes the feeling of being in an elementary school away from its classic form, but we are living in a much different world than that of yesteryear. We have to put school safety as a top priority. Without safety, students will not be able to receive a high quality education. Recent research shows that students that feel safe and are socially/emotionally secure have higher achievement. Student achievement on test scores is what most people are concerned about. Let’s improve student achievement by creating safe schools that also meet the needs of all our students socially and emotionally.

  8. As a teacher and a parent, I agree with President Obama’s plan to make schools safer. Every school does need a school resource officer and not just one for the district. On a daily basis, a school principal experiences many safety and legal issues. Also, there is a drastic increase of social and emotional needs of our students. We need more than just one school psychologist to service a school of up to 500 students! Social workers and counselors are also needed to meet the diverse needs of our youth. Also, having worked at a school that had cameras and a badge entry system, it did provide another level of safety than just a lock and key system. Our schools are constantly being visited my parents, relatives, and other

  9. I work at a High School. Obama need’s to focus on the security of actual school’s. I think if all school’s are a “Complete Closed Campus” and having “One Main Enterance to Enter the School”. The main entry should have a Metal Detector’s that detect’s up to 20 or more feet giving off a signal and Alarm. Then we as School Staff can Lock Down and secure everyone! All School’s should have Lock Down Procedure Drills like our school has. This will train all staff and students what to do in case of an emergency we are under threat. All school’s must have Lock Down drills regularily like fire drill’s. This along with camera’s will secure and protect everyone. The word will get out and people can have peace of mind.
    All people, families including school’s need to address student’s problems especially Bullying. Maybe people won’t act out if they can be reached someway or somehow.
    All this idea’s of taxing and issuing more fee’s for people who own’s guns does not solve, help or prevent anything. We need to address the source the issue. The issue is the Safety of our Children in school’s. I am first a Parent and second an employee. Leave our Second Amendment Alone! School’s need to be secured!

  10. How is it that to maitain a person in jail costs an average of $100,000 a year and to keep one student in elementary school costs $5000.00 to our government ?
    How can we have all the security level in all the US prissions and NONE for our schools ?. Sorry for the guys in jail but they should be paying the price of not having enough security not our kids. Someone may say: well without security the prissioner may scape and harm people. Well, let the governament deal with that and secure our schools before the next tragedy, which saddly, could happen in any place and any time.

  11. To comment #1

    Hefty fees are already taken from gun owners and non-gun owners called taxes. For a person, like myself, who owns a gun and can take that rifle or shotgun deer or dove hunting to save my family grocery costs to add a “hefty” fee would negate any savings I am trying to do.

    We pay do pay taxes on bullets, we pay taxes on the gun itself, we pay for hunting permits. Also, dedicated “fees” are in place through concealed handgun licenses which must be renewed every 5 years. And you have to take a 5 hour renewal course with each renewal which costs as well.

    Now, some may say well to feed your family there could be an exemption for hunting. Then you have to pay someone to monitor that exemption otherwise everyone would claim it.

    I wish that the president and others would stop saying the word “common sense” reform. The common sense thing to do is ask what the people want rather than what they think we want. Have it left up to the states to decide what they determine is common sense gun reform.

    Common sense for 300 million people can mean a whole lot of things.

  12. All this is just political. To prevent tragedies, we need long term strategy to help the mentally ill people behind gun. A simple measure to have annual interview for ALL gun owners will minimize such tragedies. These interviews will help to identify potential risks and threats.
    Simply put – if a gun owner dies due to accident or something, his kid or 3rd party inherits the gun, who knows what will happen next!!!

    • It is saddening to see that the schools will have guns, metal detectors, etc. this is not what we all worked hard for our nation to grow as.

  13. What would cameras and secure locking systems have done anything to protect those beautiful young kids at Sandy Point Elementary? Would the SRO be carrying a weapon? Would an SRO have been able to stop the shooter at Sandy Hook elementary? As soon as the two adults approached the shooter–they were shot. The same would have happened with the SRO unless he is also armed.

    I’ve been in education for 38 years. I’ve been in schools with security cameras and secure locks. Here are the issues that always come up. Who is going to monitor the cameras? It usually falls to secretaries because it cost money to hire a person to monitor cameras. Secretaries are usually as diligent as possible, but have so many other duties that they cannot successfully monitor all access, all the time. Secure locking systems especially in a multiple building schools, like almost all high schools are in the country, are usually unsecure after a while due to inconvenience for late arriving students, janitors or other personel. SRO’s can’t be everywhere at once and it would be coincidental for an SRO to be in the right place at the right time.

    All of the mentioned also cost money. For small districts this is a heavey burden. Just to change locks can cost many thousands of dollars, let alone hiring SRO’s, buying, maintaining and updating monitoring systems year after year can be very burdensome for schools.

    With all of these new measures, would all of this stop those students from sneaking guns into schools and using them on other students and teachers. There is more of this than the situation at New Town. Should we then also add metal detectors? Should we start “frisking” our students? All of us know how show check-in is at the airports. How early would you have to start check-ins? How long will this take? Who’s going to frisk our students and what legal areas have we now crossed into?

    Unfortunately, gun magazine size and banning assault style weapons won’t stop the problem either. All that a deranged, psychopath or other social deviant has to do is carry multiple weapons as did the nut case at the Sandy Hook shoting did even though he didn’t use all his weapon-he had pistols as well as the semi-automatic AR type rifle.

    I don’t have an answer to stop school shootings but I do feel that all these new measures will not stop shootings. I am also a believer in the 2nd Amendment, and even if the 2nd Amendment was removed from our constitution–the nut cases could just esculate to planting bombs or suicide bombings. I think it is a comprehensive issue with an emphasis on counseling, mental institutions, and good parenting skills such as not letting your child play violent video games. It wouldn’t hurt to provide spiritual growth through our churches for our children, but then we all have a right to not teach our children right from wrong or go to church–don’t we. Would we also want to teach spirituality? If so, what religion?

    It a complicated issue and unfortunately if there is a nut case out that wants to harm our children, they will probably figure out a way to do it.

  14. I agree with this plan, and I would like to suggest that the NRA and others who own guns pay a hefty fee to purchase and own guns, and that this fee goes directly to the above programs – particularly the one that NRA insists on (which I don’t agree with) to have armed guards at our schools. A dedicated annual fee, much like the car fees and car insurance plans we must all have to own and drive a car.

    • Please keep in mind, owning a gun is a Constitutional right. It is a right of the people, which the government serves. We do not serve the government. Driving a car is not a Constitutional right. If a state wants to charge you to drive a car, that’s their choice, and one can move to another state that doesn’t tax on every aspect of living. Requiring car insurance is another state decision. I choose to drive, so I choose to pay these fees you speak of. I will not surrender any of my constitutional rights.

      Certain words expressed on air or on print incite violence, including homicide. I don’t believe there should be a fee for anyone who wants to post their opinion on a blog, in an article or on air. It is their first amendment right to speak freely.

      Before stripping our Constitutional rights by banning guns to eliminate violence, let’s ban drugs to eliminate the drug problem in this country (and our schools) to see how effective it is. And to make sure a plan like that will eliminate the guns from the criminals, not just law abiding US Citizens.

  15. As a teacher and parent, I strongly agree with hiring addiitional resources across the country so all schools have the same level of protection and security.

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